Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster lends a hand during a recent Pop-Up Park NF! event.

Gluck Park was the place to be for a high energy and inspirational afternoon on Sept. 19. The Healthy Food, Healthy People Work Group of the Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative hosted the first Pop-Up Park NF!

Niagara University is a partner in the program.

More than 60 neighborhood youth and 40 adult residents were in attendance using their imaginations to build, create and play. Parents and residents had an opportunity to voice their opinions and tell personal stories about the growth potential in Niagara Falls, N.Y.  Mayor Paul Dyster and a few other city officials came out to build and play.

From the materials given, youth participants built a doll house, a wagon, several scooters and a bird house, to name a few of the creations. In addition to the youth builders, there were parents and adult caregivers playing and creating with them.

Lunch was served by the YWCA’s Catering Crew.

Future Pop-Up NF! events are being planned for this coming fall and spring. The work group is in need of supplies for the upcoming events and welcomes donations of scrap wood, old wheels and/or casters, and any other safe items that allow children and residents can build and be creative.

“This was one of the best community events that I’ve been to,” said Seth Piccirillo, director of Niagara Falls Community Development.

“This style of event is intended to engage all voices in the community, at every age,” said Lisa Tucker, co-chair of the Healthy Foods, Healthy People Work Group. “We want to learn from residents and hear how they want to improve their community and make it a better place to live. We hope to act on those ideas in the future.”

Launched by Mayor Dyster in 2009, Creating a Healthier Niagara Falls is a community-driven initiative that serves as a way to fully engage residents in identifying innovative approaches to creating a healthier Niagara Falls around several issues including healthy behaviors, home ownership, job preparation, local hiring, access to healthy and affordable food, parks for play and transportation.

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